Infection of host tissues by Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis requires an unusual family of staphylococcal adhesive proteins that contain long stretches of serine-aspartate dipeptide-repeats (SDR). The prototype member of this family is clumping factor A (ClfA), a key virulence factor that mediates adhesion to host tissues by binding to extracellular matrix proteins such as fibrinogen. However, the biological siginificance of the SDR-domain and its implication for pathogenesis remain poorly understood. Here, we identified two novel bacterial glycosyltransferases, SdgA and SdgB, which modify all SDR-proteins in these two bacterial species. Genetic and biochemical data demonstrated that these two glycosyltransferases directly bind and covalently link N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) moieties to the SDR-domain in a step-wise manner, with SdgB appending the sugar residues proximal to the target Ser-Asp repeats, followed by additional modification by SdgA. GlcNAc-modification of SDR-proteins by SdgB creates an immunodominant epitope for highly opsonic human antibodies, which represent up to 1% of total human IgG. Deletion of these glycosyltransferases renders SDR-proteins vulnerable to proteolysis by human neutrophil-derived cathepsin G. Thus, SdgA and SdgB glycosylate staphylococcal SDR-proteins, which protects them against host proteolytic activity, and yet generates major eptopes for the human anti-staphylococcal antibody response, which may represent an ongoing competition between host and pathogen.
Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis are major bacterial pathogens that can cause life-threatening human diseases. Following entry into the circulation, S.aureus can infect virtually any organ. However, it must first counter antibacterial mechanisms of the innate immune system, including those involving macrophages and neutrophils. Important for staphylococcal adhesion to and successful colonization of host tissues, is a family of bacterial surface proteins containing multiple repeats of serine-aspartate repeats (SDR) adjacent to an adhesive A-domain. The biological functions of the SDR-domain of these SDR proteins remain elusive. We found that the SDR-domain of all staphylococcal SDR proteins is heavily glycosylated. We identified two novel glycosylases, SdgA and SdgB, which are responsible for glycosylation in two steps, and found that this glycosylation protects the adhesive SDR proteins against proteolytic attack by human neutrophil cathepin G. Since pathogen binding to human tissues, including the extracellular matrix protein fibrinogen, depends on SDR proteins, this glycosylation may be important for successful colonization of the human host. We also show that the SdgB-mediated glycosylation creates an immunodominant epitope for highly opsonic antibodies in humans. These antibodies account for a significant proportion of the total anti-staphylococcal IgG response.
We sequenced the genomes of two strains of O104:H21 enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) isolated during an outbreak of hemorrhagic colitis in Montana in 1994. These strains carried a plasmid that contains several virulence genes not present in pO157. The genome sequences will improve phylogenetic analysis of other non-O157 E. coli strains in the future.
The Salmonella enterica strains that are representatives of the S. enterica serovar Typhimurium complex in reference collection A (SARA) are closely related but exhibit differences in antibiotic resistance, which could have public health consequences. To better understand the mechanisms behind these resistances, we sequenced the genomes of two multidrug-resistant strains: SARA64 (Muenchen) and SARA33 (Heidelberg).
The consumption of fresh tomatoes has been linked to numerous food-borne outbreaks involving various serovars of Salmonella enterica. Recent advances in our understanding of plant-microbe interactions have shown that human enteric pathogenic bacteria, including S. enterica, are adapted to survive in the plant environment. In this study, tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Micro-Tom) grown in sandy loam soil from Virginia's eastern shore (VES) were inoculated with S. enterica serovars to evaluate plausible internalization routes and to determine if there is any niche fitness for certain serovars. Both infested soil and contaminated blossoms can lead to low internal levels of fruit contamination with Salmonella. Salmonella serovars demonstrated a great ability to survive in environments under tomato cultivation, not only in soil but also on different parts of the tomato plant. Of the five serovars investigated, Salmonella enterica serovars Newport and Javiana were dominant in sandy loam soil, while Salmonella enterica serovars Montevideo and Newport were more prevalent on leaves and blossoms. It was also observed that Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium had a poor rate of survival in all the plant parts examined here, suggesting that postharvest contamination routes are more likely in S. Typhimurium contamination of tomato fruit. Conversely, S. Newport was the most prevalent serovar recovered in both the tomato rhizosphere and phyllosphere. Plants that were recently transplanted (within 3 days) had an increase in observable internalized bacteria, suggesting that plants were more susceptible to internalization right after transplant. These findings suggest that the particular Salmonella serovar and the growth stage of the plant were important factors for internalization through the root system.
The ability to detect a specific organism from a complex environment is vitally important to many fields of public health, including food safety. For example, tomatoes have been implicated numerous times as vehicles of foodborne outbreaks due to strains of Salmonella but few studies have ever recovered Salmonella from a tomato phyllosphere environment. Precision of culturing techniques that target agents associated with outbreaks depend on numerous factors. One important factor to better understand is which species co-enrich during enrichment procedures and how microbial dynamics may impede or enhance detection of target pathogens. We used a shotgun sequence approach to describe taxa associated with samples pre-enrichment and throughout the enrichment steps of the Bacteriological Analytical Manual's (BAM) protocol for detection of Salmonella from environmental tomato samples. Recent work has shown that during efforts to enrich Salmonella (Proteobacteria) from tomato field samples, Firmicute genera are also co-enriched and at least one co-enriching Firmicute genus (Paenibacillus sp.) can inhibit and even kills strains of Salmonella. Here we provide a baseline description of microflora that co-culture during detection efforts and the utility of a bioinformatic approach to detect specific taxa from metagenomic sequence data. We observed that uncultured samples clustered together with distinct taxonomic profiles relative to the three cultured treatments (Universal Pre-enrichment broth (UPB), Tetrathionate (TT), and Rappaport-Vassiliadis (RV)). There was little consistency among samples exposed to the same culturing medias, suggesting significant microbial differences in starting matrices or stochasticity associated with enrichment processes. Interestingly, Paenibacillus sp. (Salmonella inhibitor) was significantly enriched from uncultured to cultured (UPB) samples. Also of interest was the sequence based identification of a number of sequences as Salmonella despite indication by all media, that samples were culture negative for Salmonella. Our results substantiate the nascent utility of metagenomic methods to improve both biological and bioinformatic pathogen detection methods.
Here, we report draft genomes of Paenibacillus alvei strains A6-6i and TS-15, which were isolated, respectively, from plant material and soil in the Virginia Eastern Shore (VES) tomato growing area. An array of genes related to antimicrobial biosynthetic pathways have been identified with whole-genome analyses of these strains.
Rifaximin is a semi-synthetic rifamycin derivative that is used to treat different conditions including bacterial diarrhea and hepatic encephalopathy. Rifaximin is of particular interest because it is poorly adsorbed in the intestines and has minimal effect on colonic microflora. We previously demonstrated that rifaximin affected epithelial cell physiology by altering infectivity by enteric pathogens and baseline inflammation suggesting that rifaximin conferred cytoprotection against colonization and infection. Effects of rifaximin on epithelial cells were further examined by comparing the protein expression profile of cells pretreated with rifaximin, rifampin (control antibiotic), or media (untreated). Two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis identified 36 protein spots that were up- or down-regulated by over 1.7-fold in rifaximin treated cells compared to controls. 15 of these spots were down-regulated, including annexin A5, intestinal-type alkaline phosphatase, histone H4, and histone-binding protein RbbP4. 21 spots were up-regulated, including heat shock protein (HSP) 90α and fascin. Many of the identified proteins are associated with cell structure and cytoskeleton, transcription and translation, and cellular metabolism. These data suggested that in addition to its antimicrobial properties, rifaximin may alter host cell physiology that provides cytoprotective effects against bacterial pathogens.
Combination therapy with interferon alpha (IFN) is correlated with improved survival in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAc) but frequently presents side effects. We designed a novel targeted adenovirus with replication restricted to cyclooxygenase 2 (Cox2)-overexpressing PDAcs and hypothesize that the locally delivered therapeutic gene IFN can augment oncolytic effects while minimizing systemic toxicity.
IFN-expressing vectors were tested in vitro with the use of 4 PDAc cell lines with cytocidal effect measured by crystal violet and colorimetrically and IFN production assayed by ELISA. Cox2 promoter activity was checked by a luciferase reporter assay. In vivo, subcutaneous tumor xenografts with 2 PDAc cell lines in nude mice were treated with a single intratumoral viral dose.
All PDAc cell lines were Cox2-positive. Oncolysis from the novel Cox2-controlled virus was comparable or superior to Adwt, the wild-type virus without safety features. The absence of cytocidal effect in Cox2-negative cells with the novel virus indicated cancer specificity. In vivo, stronger tumor suppression from the novel virus was seen when compared with nonreplicating IFN-expressing vectors.
We demonstrated the potent therapeutic effects of a novel tumor-specific conditionally replicative IFN-expressing adenovirus. With potential to locally deliver IFN and avoid systemic toxicity, this strategy may therefore expand the application of this robust and promising therapy.
Non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are emerging food-borne pathogens causing life-threatening diseases and food-borne outbreaks. A better understanding of their evolution provides a framework for developing tools to control food safety. We obtained 15 genomes of non-O157 STEC strains, including O26, O111, and O103 strains. Phylogenetic trees revealed a close relationship between O26:H11 and O111:H11 and a scattered distribution of O111. We hypothesize that STEC serotypes with the same H antigens might share common ancestors.
Research to understand and control microbiological risks associated with the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has examined many environments in the farm to fork continuum. An important data gap however, that remains poorly studied is the baseline description of microflora that may be associated with plant anatomy either endemically or in response to environmental pressures. Specific anatomical niches of plants may contribute to persistence of human pathogens in agricultural environments in ways we have yet to describe. Tomatoes have been implicated in outbreaks of Salmonella at least 17 times during the years spanning 1990 to 2010. Our research seeks to provide a baseline description of the tomato microbiome and possibly identify whether or not there is something distinctive about tomatoes or their growing ecology that contributes to persistence of Salmonella in this important food crop.
DNA was recovered from washes of epiphytic surfaces of tomato anatomical organs; leaves, stems, roots, flowers and fruits of Solanum lycopersicum (BHN602), grown at a site in close proximity to commercial farms previously implicated in tomato-Salmonella outbreaks. DNA was amplified for targeted 16S and 18S rRNA genes and sheared for shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Amplicons and metagenomes were used to describe “native” bacterial microflora for diverse anatomical parts of Virginia-grown tomatoes.
Distinct groupings of microbial communities were associated with different tomato plant organs and a gradient of compositional similarity could be correlated to the distance of a given plant part from the soil. Unique bacterial phylotypes (at 95% identity) were associated with fruits and flowers of tomato plants. These include Microvirga, Pseudomonas, Sphingomonas, Brachybacterium, Rhizobiales, Paracocccus, Chryseomonas and Microbacterium. The most frequently observed bacterial taxa across aerial plant regions were Pseudomonas and Xanthomonas. Dominant fungal taxa that could be identified to genus with 18S amplicons included Hypocrea, Aureobasidium and Cryptococcus. No definitive presence of Salmonella could be confirmed in any of the plant samples, although 16S sequences suggested that closely related genera were present on leaves, fruits and roots.
Tomato microflora; 16S; 18S; Metagenomics; Phyllosphere; Solanum lycopersicum; Tomato organs; Microbial ecology; Baseline microflora; Tomatome
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) causes severe illness in humans, including hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome. A parallel evolutionary model was proposed in which E. coli strains of distinct phylogenies independently integrate Shiga toxin-encoding genes and evolve into STEC. We report the draft genomes of two emerging non-O157 STEC strains.
Susceptibility of a particular species to prion disease is affected by small differences in the sequence of PrP and correlates with the propensity of its PrP to assume the β-state. A helix-cap motif in the β2−α2-loop of native α-helical rabbit PrP, a resistant species, contains sequence differences that influence intra- and interspecies transmission. To determine the effect the helix-cap motif on β-state refolding propensity, we mutated S170N, S174N, and S170N/S174N of the rabbit PrP helix-cap to resemble that of hamster PrP and conversely, N170S, N174S, and N170S/N174S of hamster PrP to resemble the helix-cap of rabbit PrP. High-resolution crystal structures (1.45–1.6 Å) revealed that these mutations ablate hydrogen-bonding interactions within the helix-cap motif in rabbit PrPC. They also alter the β-state-misfolding propensity of PrP; the serine mutations in hamster PrP decrease the propensity up to 35%, whereas the asparagine mutations in rabbit PrP increase it up to 42%. Rapid dilution of rabbit and hamster into β-state buffer conditions causes quick conversion to β-state monomers. Kinetic monitoring using size-exclusion chromatography showed that the monomer population decreases exponentially mirrored by an increase in an octameric species. The monomer-octamer transition rates are faster for hamster than for rabbit PrP. The N170S/N174S mutant of hamster PrP has a smaller octamer component at the endpoint compared to the wild-type, whereas the kinetics of octamer formation in mutant and wild-type rabbit PrP are comparable. These findings demonstrate that the sequence of the β2−α2 helix-cap affects refolding to the β-state and subsequently, may influence susceptibility to prion disease.
Salmonellosis contributes significantly to the public health burden globally. Salmonella enterica serotype Newport is among Salmonella serotypes most associated with food-borne illness in the United States and China. It was thought to be polyphyletic and to contain different lineages. We report draft genomes of four S. Newport strains isolated from humans in China.
Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis is a common food-borne pathogen, often associated with shell eggs and poultry. Here, we report draft genomes of 21 S. Enteritidis strains associated with or related to the U.S.-wide 2010 shell egg recall. Eleven of these genomes were from environmental isolates associated with the egg outbreak, and 10 were reference isolates from previous years, unrelated to the outbreak. The whole-genome sequence data for these 21 human pathogen strains are being released in conjunction with the newly formed 100K Genome Project.
This study examines prevention system transformation as part of a community-randomized controlled trial of Communities That Care (CTC). Using data from surveys of community leaders, we examine differences between CTC and control communities 4.5 years after CTC implementation. Significantly higher levels of adopting a science-based approach to prevention observed in CTC communities compared to controls in 2004 were maintained in 2007. Leaders in CTC communities expressed a willingness to contribute significantly more funds to prevention than did leaders in control communities in 2007. Significant differences in levels of community collaboration observed in 2004 were not maintained in 2007. Leaders in CTC communities with high poverty rates and large minority student populations reported higher levels of community norms against drug use and greater use of the social development strategy, respectively, than did leaders in control communities with similar characteristics.
system transformation; system change; Communities That Care; Community Youth Development Study; adoption; prevention science
SecA2 is an ATPase present in some pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria, is required for translocation of a limited set of proteins across the cytosolic membrane, and plays an important role in virulence in several bacteria, including mycobacteria that cause diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy. However, the mechanisms by which SecA2 affects virulence are incompletely understood. To investigate whether SecA2 modulates host immune responses in vivo, we studied Mycobacterium marinum infection in two different hosts: an established zebrafish model and a recently described mouse model. Here we show that M. marinum ΔsecA2 was attenuated for virulence in both host species and SecA2 was needed for normal granuloma numbers and for optimal tumor necrosis factor alpha response in both zebrafish and mice. M. marinum ΔsecA2 was more sensitive to SDS and had unique protrusions from its cell envelope when examined by cryo-electron tomography, suggesting that SecA2 is important for bacterial cell wall integrity. These results provide evidence that SecA2 induces granulomas and is required for bacterial modulation of the host response because it affects the mycobacterial cell envelope.
We report a closed genome of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Javiana (S. Javiana). This serotype is a common food-borne pathogen and is often associated with fresh-cut produce. Complete (finished) genome assemblies will support pilot studies testing the utility of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies in public health laboratories.
The standard procedure for definitive detection of BoNT-producing Clostridia is a culture method combined with neurotoxin detection using a standard mouse bioassay (MBA). The mouse bioassay is highly sensitive and specific, but it is expensive and time-consuming, and there are ethical concerns due to use of laboratory animals. Cell-based assays provide an alternative to the MBA in screening for BoNT-producing Clostridia. Here, we describe a cell-based assay utilizing a fluorescence reporter construct expressed in a neuronal cell model to study toxin activity in situ. Our data indicates that the assay can detect as little as 100 pM BoNT/A activity within living cells, and the assay is currently being evaluated for the analysis of BoNT in food matrices. Among available in vitro assays, we believe that cell-based assays are widely applicable in high-throughput screenings and have the potential to at least reduce and refine animal assays if not replace it.
The goal of the study was to determine baseline protective titers of antibodies to Streptococcus pneumoniae surface protein A (PspA) and capsular polysaccharide in individuals with and individuals without type 2 diabetes mellitus. A total of 561 individuals (131 individuals with diabetes and 491 without) were screened for antibodies to PspA using a standard enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A subset of participants with antibodies to PspA were retested using a WHO ELISA to determine titers of antibodies to capsular polysaccharide (CPS) (serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F, and 23F). Functional activity of antibodies was measured by assessing their ability to enhance complement (C3) deposition on pneumococci and promote killing of opsonized pneumococci. Titers of antibodies to protein antigens (PspA) were significantly lower in individuals with diabetes than controls without diabetes (P = 0.01), and antibodies showed a significantly reduced complement deposition ability (P = 0.02). Both antibody titers and complement deposition were negatively associated with hyperglycemia. Conversely, titers of antibodies to capsular polysaccharides were either comparable between the two groups or were significantly higher in individuals with diabetes, as was observed for CPS 14 (P = 0.05). The plasma specimens from individuals with diabetes also demonstrated a higher opsonophagocytic index against CPS serotype 14. Although we demonstrate comparable protective titers of antibodies to CPS in individuals with and individuals without diabetes, those with diabetes had lower PspA titers and poor opsonic activity strongly associated with hyperglycemia. These results suggest a link between diabetes and impairment of antibody response.
Salmonellosis is a major contributor to the global public health burden. Salmonella enterica serotype Newport has ranked among three Salmonella serotypes most commonly associated with food-borne outbreaks in the United States. It was thought to be polyphyletic and composed of independent lineages. Here we report draft genomes of eight strains of S. Newport from diverse hosts and locations.
Salmonellosis has been one of the major contributors to the global public health burden. Salmonella enterica serotype Agona has ranked among the top 10 and top 20 most frequent Salmonella serotypes isolated from human sources in China and the United States, respectively. We report draft genomes of three S. Agona strains from China.
Clostridium botulinum is a pathogen of concern for low-acid canned foods. Here we report draft genomes of a neurotoxin-producing C. botulinum strain isolated from water samples used for cooling low-acid canned foods at a canning facility. The genome sequence confirmed that this strain belonged to C. botulinum serotype B1, albeit with major differences, including thousands of unique single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) compared to other genomes of the same serotype.
Salmonella Newport has ranked in the top three Salmonella serotypes associated with foodborne outbreaks from 1995 to 2011 in the United States. In the current study, we selected 26 S. Newport strains isolated from diverse sources and geographic locations and then conducted 454 shotgun pyrosequencing procedures to obtain 16–24 × coverage of high quality draft genomes for each strain. Comparative genomic analysis of 28 S. Newport strains (including 2 reference genomes) and 15 outgroup genomes identified more than 140,000 informative SNPs. A resulting phylogenetic tree consisted of four sublineages and indicated that S. Newport had a clear geographic structure. Strains from Asia were divergent from those from the Americas. Our findings demonstrated that analysis using whole genome sequencing data resulted in a more accurate picture of phylogeny compared to that using single genes or small sets of genes. We selected loci around the mutS gene of S. Newport to differentiate distinct lineages, including those between invH and mutS genes at the 3′ end of Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 1 (SPI-1), ste fimbrial operon, and Clustered, Regularly Interspaced, Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) associated-proteins (cas). These genes in the outgroup genomes held high similarity with either S. Newport Lineage II or III at the same loci. S. Newport Lineages II and III have different evolutionary histories in this region and our data demonstrated genetic flow and homologous recombination events around mutS. The findings suggested that S. Newport Lineages II and III diverged early in the serotype evolution and have evolved largely independently. Moreover, we identified genes that could delineate sublineages within the phylogenetic tree and that could be used as potential biomarkers for trace-back investigations during outbreaks. Thus, whole genome sequencing data enabled us to better understand the genetic background of pathogenicity and evolutionary history of S. Newport and also provided additional markers for epidemiological response.